Fueled by a Promise, graduate earns degree he’s targeted since high school
By Joey Piccolo’s sophomore year in high school, he was pretty sure of the program he would enroll in at college.
He had taken a class in accounting, found he liked it and decided to pursue that field after taking more accounting classes in his junior and senior year.
The next step was to choose a college, and he chose Gateway Technical College. Joey says a number of factors spurred his decision. Many of his family members recommended Gateway, the campus was conveniently located near his home, and the dual credits he had earned in high school would apply to his degree. Plus, the college offered solid transfer agreements with multiple four-year colleges, so Joey knew he could be confident about his educational options after graduation.
If that wasn't enough, the Promise program sealed the deal with funding and academic support services so that qualifying area high school graduates can attend college tuition-free.
“Gateway was my first college experience -- I’m so glad I chose Gateway,” says Joey.
A large part of that experience has been the Promise program. He says the Gateway Promise helped him financially in addition to providing the foundation to succeed in college.
While the program does help students to afford college, it also provides helpful wraparound services such as tutoring, opportunities to connect with other students and regular visits with Gateway staff to provide direction and advice, if needed.
“Gateway and the Promise program are like a big community,” says Joey. “I’ve met a lot of good people whom I could go to if I needed help on any questions I had, whether it was financial or anything in general. It was good to be part of that community.
“Being able to go to college for free helped a lot, too, to not have to take on those loans early on. That had a big impact on my experience.”
Joey earned his associate degree in Accounting and transferred those credits to a four-year college where he is earning his bachelor’s degree. He entered as a junior, saving time and money toward earning another Accounting degree.
“It was a big decision to go to Gateway and to enroll in the Promise program, but I am happy I did that.”